May 8, 2018, 2:01 AM

Khasdar Krida Mahotsav got a perfect start on Sunday evening (May 6) as Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, who inspires many with his athletic spirit, came calling to Nagpur for the opening ceremony of the festival. Along with Akshay, Sports Minister and Olympic medal winner Rajyvardhan Singh Rathore and well-known Indian Badminton coach Pullela Gopichand also graced the ceremony. The 20-day multi-sport festival, which is the brainchild of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, was inaugurated at Divisional Sports Complex, Mankapur.

Speaking about Akshay, Rathore and Gopichand’s presence at the event, Gadkari said, “The primary intention of Khasdar Krida Mahotsav is to encourage all the local sports players to participate and showcase their skills. We invited Akshay Kumar, Pullela Gopichand and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore because their presence and life stories can inspire city sportspersons to participate in huge numbers in the festival." Thanking Akshay for his visit, Gadkari informed, "In spite of his hectic schedule, Akshay agreed to attend this ceremony on just one request because this festival is all about sports."

A ‘Khiladi’ in true sense!

Akshay made a dashing entry through a LED wall as the song ‘Boss’ played in the background and thousands of spectators at the jam-packed indoor stadium cheered just at the sight of him. Taking to the stage, Akshay addressed everybody as he said, “I feel great when somebody talks about sports. I’m a sportsperson and a stunt man first, then an actor.”

Known for his humility, Akshay then said, “I don’t know acting but I know sports! Sports is one of the most amazing things. I would request all the parents to support their kids for their ambitions in sports.” Motivating the people present, Akshay then said, “My father always told me that a person should always know that there’s a champion in him.” He then thanked Gadkari for the invitation to the festival and quipped that when Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore stands, he looks like a perfect sports minister!”

Call it the love of the fans, Akshay obliged them when they shouted and requested him to sing a song. Akshay, who’s known for his films on patriotism and his efforts towards helping the families of army martyrs, not only sang the ‘Suno Gaur Se Duniya Walo’ but also made thousands of fans sing along. The result was an abundant creation of patriotic energy, which was enough to give everybody goose bumps!

Also read: Sachin Tendulkar to be in Nagpur for the concluding ceremony of Khasdar Krida Mahotsav

Sizzling performances

The opening ceremony of the festival also consisted of some amazing cultural and sporting performances. While Nagpur’s music band Jallosh entertained the spectators before Akshay’s visit, post his visit, spectators were left in an awe of local participants who performed Lezim, Dandpatta, Malkham, Rope Malkham, Yoga, etc. Witnessing these performances, an excited Akshay, who was sitting at the stage, jumped and joined the performers. Students and players representing all 20 games to be played at the festival, then held posters of their respective games and marched in the stadium. The opening ceremony was hosted by RJ Rajan from 94.3 My FM.

Need for a boost to sports

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who conducted the oath taking ceremony for the players present, stressed upon the importance of giving a boost to sports in India. “To change India, we need to conduct sporting activities at every school and also introduce the concept of intra college sports events on a large scale.” Thanking the people present, Rathore added, “It’s great that today, we have Khiladi number 1 (Akshay), Leader number 1 (Gadkari) and Dronacharya of Modern India (Gopichand) with us at this festival in the number 1 city (Nagpur). The enthusiasm you people have shown is tremendous. Ekdum Solid, Jhakkas!” Gopichand too spoke about the importance of sports as he said, “We focus so much on literacy that we forget to keep our bodies fit. Along with reading and writing, students should be introduced to physical literacy as well.”

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